As a tearful Paul Mainieri sat in his final press conference Sunday, he wanted to make clear why he was so emotional.
"Hey listen, I don't want people to be sad for me," Mainieri said. "I've been the luckiest guy in the world."
39 years fly by I guess, when you're having fun. The LSU Head Coach is now entering retirement, after a career full of memories.
"I got to live out a childhood dream. Got to do what I wanted to do with my life. Who could ask for more?"
At LSU, Mainieri won over 600 games in 15 years. His 6 SEC Tournament titles is tied for the conference record. But his crown achievement is winning the 2009 World Series. It all started with re-establishing the LSU baseball mentality.
"We went through some real growing pains that first year (in 2007)," Mainieri said. "But I knew that we had some talent. But we had to get them into the right frame of mind. To act and to think like winners."
Meanwhile, in college baseball, the hall of famer will be known as one of the greatest of all time. Mainieri is 1 of only 5 Division One coaches to ever win over 1,500 games and a national championship. But now, he's ready to tally his real victories off the field.
"I wanna go visit former players. I don't want them to come to my funeral one day. I won't be able to enjoy them then. I want to see how the fruits of my labor have turned out."
The next head coach at LSU is still to be decided. But whoever it is, will have the tools to be successful right away. That's because Mainieri is leaving the program better than he found it.
"I feel very proud of what were leaving to the next coach," Mainieri exclaimed. "Got some really good young players. Feel very good of where the program is. It's been 15 wonderful years, I've loved every second of it. Cherish it forever."
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